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Business Phone Systems are a type of software, also known as VoIP (voice over internet protocol), that enables the transmission of voice telephone calls and other multimedia content through internet networks.
The complexity of the business telephony market is nothing short of staggering. With hundreds of differencesâ€”some minor, some majorâ€”in technology, features and usability, buying a new VoIP phone system can get very confusing very quickly.
Traditional Business Phone Systems
Traditional business phone systems use the traditional landline telephone system, often called the Plain Old Telephone Service or POTS. VoIP phone systems, discussed below, use the Internet instead of the POTS. Overall, the technology is in a state of transition from traditional to VoIP, and many businesses have phone systems using elements of both.
Private Branch Exchanges (PBX)
In a PBX system, every office phone is connected to a single, centralized router within the office, which then assigns a unique line (called a trunk) to the public telephone network. A PBX allows internal calls to be routed without connecting to the public phone network at allâ€”translating to significant cost savings, particularly in large offices.
The term “PBX” originates from the days when a live operator manually connected lines (exchanging branches) at a companyâ€™s internal switchboard. Some acronyms are:-
IP PBX: Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange
PABX: Private Automatic Branch Exchange
EPABX: Electronic Private Automatic Branch Exchange
In a key system, the user selects the line manually, with lights indicating which lines are in use.Â
VoIP Phone Systems
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, sends communication data through the Internet rather than through a traditional phone line.Â They’re also more expandable than traditional phone lines, since they’re limited by digital bandwidth rather than by the number of physical lines.
A Business Phone Systems can replace a traditional analog phone system, reducing costs and adding communication functions that help the business operate more efficiently.
Sophisticated functionality : Â A business VoIP system improves internal and external communications with a variety of real-time tools, such as text messaging, video conferencing and remote collaboration.
Increased efficiency :Â Apart from adding functions that make communications run more smoothly, a VoIP system brings other efficiencies.
Easier redundancy :Â Digital systems are much easier to back up than analog systems. Thereâ€™s no easy way to have a backup of the telephone lines outside your office, but you can have your Internet service delivered by several independent means.
Cost reduction : The flat-rate and tiered plans offered by VoIP providers are generally more competitive than the service plans offered by traditional phone providers.
Computer telephony integration : CTI primarily describes the integration between telephone functions and a userâ€™s desktop computer (including with your CRM or ERP software, if applicable).
Softphone : Rather than having a dedicated phone line, a headset is plugged into the userâ€™s computer, which is then used as the phone source.
Mobility : One main advantage of modern phone systems for businesses is the ability to connect any user into the system, even if theyâ€™re not physically in the same building.
Auto dialer/predictive dialer : The system places an outbound call automatically; when someone answers, he is connected to an internal user.
Automatic call distribution (ACD) : ACD queues distribute inbound calls according to the desired routing selections.
Interactive voice response (IVR) : The ability to use vocal or keypad inputs to interact with the phone system.
Call recording : Record phone calls and upload the recordings to a secure server and/or deliver them through email.
Conference calling : The ability to link multiple phone lines together on a single call.
Video conferencing : Audio and video conference technology can be incorporated directly into all users’ workstations.
Internet fax : Faxes can be sent and delivered electronically through email or through the companyâ€™s document control system.
Pricing for a business telephony system will be based on a number of factors. Typical measures include number of locations, number of phones and number of outbound phone lines. Another factor affecting commercial phone systems’ price will be the features, functionality and usage. The industry and the operational and legal requirements it is bound by will have an impact on the system you buy and the functionality you need.
Internet telephony : As Internet technology continues to grow and expand, Voice over IP is becoming an increasingly popular business phone solution. VoIP is an option you should seriously consider.
Outsourcing IT : They could produce better results by allowing specialists to come in and manage all the processes that werenâ€™t part of their specific area of expertise. IT and business telephony have both been a major part of that trend.
Hosted cloud systems : As broadband Internet connections continue to get faster, cheaper and more reliable, cloud-based PBX phone systems continue to grow in popularity. Simpler management and lower upfront cost are two selling points for hosted cloud systems.
Industry-specific systems : There are some industry-specific legal considerations that apply to business phones and business
VoIP systems : Business VoIP systems can use hard phones, which look and function just like traditional office telephone handsets.
Bandwidth :Â Quality of Service (QoS) measures need to be in place to prioritize bandwidth usage so that voice calls get preference over non-real-time network uses.
Backup : When a company relies on an Internet connection for all communications, as can be the case with VoIP systems, itâ€™s important to have a backup plan for when that connection has problems.
Microsoft expands Skype for Business services. Microsoft released the Cloud Connector Edition of the Skype for Business Server in 17 additional countries. This edition of the Skype for Business phone system enables businesses to connect an on-premises PBX or gateway to Microsoftâ€™s cloud phone system.
Google launches Duo video-calling app to compete with consumer offerings. Google has launched a consumer video calling app called Duo in a bid to better compete with Skype and FaceTime in the massive consumer video calling market. Duo focuses on simplicity and only offers person-to-person calling.
8×8 unveils next-generation capabilities. For global contact centers to optimize customer and agent experiences, Enterprise Communications as a Service (ECaaS) provider 8×8, Inc. launched next-generation capabilities for its Virtual Contact Center (VCC) solution including native quality management capabilities and customer journey analytics.